Dungannon Pro Rodeo flourishes despite a soggy start
BY SCOTT STEPHENSON
This past weekend, the fifth annual Dungannon Pro Rodeo - a two-day celebration and competition featuring traditional western events - returned to the community. Proceeds from the show went to support the Lucknow and District Fire Department, as it has in previous years.
The event was well-attended by guests of all ages, many of whom arrived wearing their best western wear. For cowpokes who didn’t plan ahead, there were vendors selling all manner of clothing, ranging from fringed shirts to horse-print infant onesies. Cowboy hats of all colours were also available at a variety of price ranges. Tack both new and used was also on sale for anybody looking to enrich their equine friends with a beautiful vintage saddle, new blanket or unique bit.
Wild Willies’ Food Truck and the Dungannon Community Food Truck offered up a selection of hot and tasty noshables for rodeo fans, but poutine was quite clearly the breakout star for both trucks. It truly is the food of our nation.
The beer tent corralled revellers together in weather that oscillated between grey and drizzly, though the rain didn’t put a damper on anybody’s spirits. The calves awaiting the scramble were appreciative of the cool weather - it kept the flies at bay before the big show.
While a professional crew of massive bulls waited in the wings for their chance to go head-to-head with those humans brave enough to face off for the finale, a number of other skill-based events kept the fans in the stands entertained.
Bucking broncos held true to their moniker by kicking up mud and throwing off riders left and right, while calf roping and the calf scramble were true battle of wills in which accuracy and agility was needed by humans and calves alike. The grace and poise of expert barrel racing paired nicely with the madcap mayhem of children mutton busting. If you’ve never experienced mutton busting in real life and wonder how a small child could possibly ride a curmudgeonly ram, the answer is that they can’t. Every ride may end with a muddy child and a laughing ram, but it’s still some great entertainment.
In preparation for the bull riding, the best and bravest of western sportsmen gathered outside the bullpen to prepare their gear and their bodies for the coming battle. One young man carefully wrapped his foot in tensor bandages before slipping his boot back on, while another tested the tensile strength of his bruised ribs. Do these kinds of injuries happen often? One rider, who chose to remain anonymous, explained that injuries are just part of the process. “Pretty much everybody here’s been hurt at one time or another,” he said. “But we do it because we love it, and this is what we do.” So once more, onto the beef, men!